Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back from Kokomo...Vietnam Veterans Reunion part 1

I returned from the Howard County(Indiana) Vietnam Veterans Reunion on Friday...the event continued through this morning, and was without a doubt another outstanding success.  Even as our numbers drop at an alarming rate, the number of Veterans of all wars, their friends and families, continues to fill the campground on Route 26 and the local Kokomo area motels and overflow sites.  I am guessing 6000 campers and another 15 thousand "day trippers".

Although the "official" kick off for the H.C.V.V.O Reunion is on Friday, many of the campers arrive a week or more in advance to campout, party, bs, and just visit, and swap war stories, which get bigger and better each year.

I arrived early Wednesday morning and set up shop at Tom McCandless's "Boar's Nest"...located at the southern most road next to the fence and farm field, Tom's place is never hard to find, as "Sweety Pie" the stuffed Boar's Head is always on the alert.  As this week progresses, I will have several days of photos and stories to tell.

In addition to the Boar's Nest group, there were more than a few Vietnam Security Police Association members on hand, many of whom will be with us at Dayton next month for our annual VSPA annual reunion.  Along with Tom, Sam Lewis, and me, others in attendance at Howard County from the VSPA included John Rowston, Tony Morris, founding member John Langley, who got me signed up back in 1999, John Zolinac, Phil Savage, and a few others I am sure I am forgetting their names.  It was a good USAF "Sky Cop" turnout....

Along with the regular crew, there were other occasion that proved it was indeed a small world, folks with ties to my old home town of Venice, Florida(including John Langley), and Jerry Wycuff from Antwerp, Ohio, who was sitting at our camp when I arrived....and immediatly I asked him if he knew my Uncle Jack DeVore....and find out he not only knew him they were good friends, and was at my Aunt's funeral, and their son Mike, and grand kids wedding over the past decade.  I thought I recognized the face....

Sadly I had to leave early, and with a cold coming on, and 3 football and 2 baseball games to officiate/umpire over the weekend, it was probably best I did, although I sure hated to leave early...and God willing will be there for a longer spell next June at the mini, and again in September for the regular get together....this year 52 hours on the ground, hopefully next year at least 96.

Back tomorrow with the details of my week at Kokomo and the effects this reunion has on all that attend.

Meanwhile here are the first of the photos and descriptions:

Top:  from left to right, Vietnam Security Police Association Members:  PRH, Tom McCandless, Sam Lewis, and founding member John Langley...Langley was a K9 handler at Tan Son Nhut, Tom and Sam were stationed their entire Vietnam tour together at Phan Rang, and I was at Nha Trang in 1969, in Law Enforcement, and at Tan Son Nhut in 1970 working night time security.  "Sweety Pie" the wild boar and guarding the Boar's Nest during the encampment....K9 Handler Phil Savage out of Michigan, with his Air Conditioning unit for K9s(tongue firmly in cheek) in a tropic war zone.  And more VSPA, as Tony Morris, another veteran member and Organization Photographer at the Boar's Nest with three of the usual suspects. 

more tomorrow....

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